This delicious tofu feta recipe comes from Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s debut cookbook, Compassionate Cuisine.
This past September, I got to take part in a very special project – photographing the Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s debut cookbook, Compassionate Cuisine. It was my first cookbook project that involved shooting recipes other than my own and I’ll be forever grateful to chef-authors Linda and Sara for trusting me with their baby.
If you’re not familiar, Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS) is located in the Hudson Valley (just two hours north of NYC). Their mission is to end animal cruelty by rescuing farmed animals and giving them a new home on their idyllic 148-acre properly.
The property includes “The Homestead,” a beautiful pre-Civil War residence (built in 1813!), which functions as a B&B where you can spend a dreamy weekend getting to know the farm and its furry residents – vegan breakfast included. And since part of CAS’s mission is to introduce visitors to a vegan lifestyle, they also teach cooking classes, the content of which formed the foundation of this cookbook.
To shoot the book, we converted the Homestead’s dining room into a photo studio. The house’s exposed brick walls and original thick-paned windows provided the perfect backdrop for the book. Shooting on-location meant the two chefs, their assistant, and I, all lived together at the Homestead for a week. This was something we were all slightly nervous about because living with strangers could go one of two ways – slumber party or hell. But I’m happy to report our experience was more like the former.
The days were long – from eight in the morning, to at least six at night – with all four of us on our feet all day. Like any photo shoot, we had our challenges (rainy days messing up the light, disagreements about photo selects, etc.), but I can honestly say every day of the job was a dream! Everyone brought the most amazing energy to the “set” and the excitement we all felt for this project was palpable.
And as if we didn’t eat enough delicious food and spend all day together, each evening we’d share a communal meal, lots of wine, and the most amazing conversations. I couldn’t have asked for the shoot to go any better, and feel so lucky to have contributed to the Sanctuary in this way.
And now, the book is finally here! Compassionate Cuisine contains 125 plant-based recipes, as well as stories about the Sanctuary. Everything I tasted during the shoot was insanely delicious and I honestly want to cook every single recipe in this book.
One of my favorite dishes from the shoot was this Greek watermelon salad with tofu “feta”. When I first tasted the vegan feta, I could not believe it was actually tofu!
This tofu feta recipe yields these salty, savory, briny squares of creamy goodness. You start by pressing a block of tofu to get rid of the excess moisture. Then you dice it up and toss it in a nutritional yeast- and miso-based marinade. Then you simply bake the tofu on a baking sheet.
Salty feta and sweet watermelon are a classic summer combo so this salad is perfect for this time of year – especially alongside a grilled feast. The salad also features other traditional Greek salad ingredients, like juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and salty olives. Fresh mint rounds out all the flavors perfectly, but if you’re not a fan, use basil, dill, or parsley. Feel free to use this tofu feta recipe in other dishes, too, like sandwiches, flatbreads, or pasta.Print
This recipe is slightly adapted from Compassionate Cuisine, written by the Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s chefs, Linda Soper-Kolton and Sara Boan.
For the Tofu Feta
- One 14–16 ounce package of extra-firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons white miso
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Salad
- 3 heaping cups of cubed 1-inch-piece seedless watermelon
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced into half-moons
- 1/2 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped (See Note)
- 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Start by pressing the tofu. Drain the tofu and squeeze out some of the water with your hands. Place the tofu on a plate then top with another plate or cutting board and weigh it down with something heavy like a couple of cans, to squeeze as much water out of the tofu as possible. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, periodically draining off the excess water.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the miso, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, oil, vinegar, garlic, and salt and whisk until smooth.
- Undo the tofu contraption and cut it into small cubes. Add to the marinade and gently toss to coat. Let stand for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the tofu in a single layer and bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely. (At this point, the tofu may be refrigerated for up to 2 days).
- To assemble the salad, combine all the ingredients and the cooled tofu feta in a large bowl and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve immediately.
If you can’t find mint, use basil or parsley.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 250
- Fiber: 2.5 g
- Protein: 12.4 g
Keywords: salad, watermelon, tofu, vegan feta